Welcome to my Journey

Hello, and welcome to my Journey. Over the last few years I have been learning more about my personal journey, my Path and my Soul Purpose. The further I travel, the easier I find it to share my journey with others, and to learn from their journeys as well. The most recent evolution has caused me to expand my Universe and allow more people access to my travels, as well as allowing me access to more people, their travels and what they have learned as they walk their own paths. Feel free to share your journey here as we all have much to learn in our lives as Divine Beings having a Human experience.

Love and Light.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29, 2013 Remembering the teen years

Driving home tonight, sticky with sweat from a day in the heat and 3 hours of dancing, I found myself thinking about some of my teenage escapades. 

One event in particular stuck in my head.  Let me preface this by mentioning that my group of friends had overactive imaginations which often wandered into the supernatural.

We lived in a rural area which wasn't far from a large, metropolitan city, in terms of miles, but lightyears away in terms of outlook.  There were a lot of quiet, remote roads for us to explore, and oftentimes, our explorations took place at night. 

Driving down one such road one night, we found ourselves approaching a tree which formed an arch over the road.  As we drew closer, the area under the arch seemed to emit an eerie, white glow.  The first thing we all thought of was a ghost and actually convinced ourselves so well that when we drove through the arch, we all felt a chill, despite the warmth of the summer night. 

We quickly turned around and left the area, but the incident stuck in our minds long afterwards and was, for as long as this group of friends stayed in touch, one of those "do you remember" moments.

What amazes me the most is that an incident like this, with no real impact on my life, then or now, can come back, decades later, but in such vivid detail that I can actually feel the shivers of anticipation and the tendril of hope that we might actually see a real ghost! 

What makes some memories circle back upon us like this?  I could see it if the memory was something which changed my life or influenced me in some way, but this was just teenage foolishness,

Memories can often be triggered by photographs, and I experienced one such example this week.  My sister had sent me an envelope full of pictures that were in my parents' belongings, but which she thought I might like to have.  Most were pictures of either my daughters or me as young children.  But there were two more formal looking pictures which I thought I recognized. 

Upon investigation, I discovered that the pictures were of the cousins I thought they were, and one in particular was taken at the younger one's bat mitzvah.  Suddenly, a whole slew of memories flooded into my brain.  I remembered heading off to Great America in San Jose with several of the cousins in the hours between the service at the Temple and the evening reception.  We ran around the park for several hours (my first ride on the Demon with its double corkscrew and loops that came right after a dark tunnel!) then headed back to hotels for showers and changes of clothes.  I vaguely recall sitting down on a group of ottomans and passing out from exhaustion later in the evening. 

Again, I ask, why did all of the details flood back into my brain? 

Our minds are amazing machines, capable of so much more than we realize.  But still, I have to ask, why do some memories come back so vividly while others, which we desperately want to retrieve, stay stubbornly in our foggy past?

Too often, there's something I really want to remember, but it's like trying to hold onto a dream I dreamt last night.  The more I try to retrieve it, the further away it slips.     Are there things we're just not meant to remember? 

This will go into my pile of things to ponder when I have the time or the inclination, but it's been a long and eventful day which has worn me to a frazzle, so I'd best get my gratitudes in before I POOK.

My gratitudes tonight are;
1. I am grateful for good friends and good times.
2. I am grateful for portable fans when the temps hit triple digits.
3. I am grateful for air conditioning, (see number 2 above).
4. I am grateful for compassionate people.
5. I am grateful that I've learned to let the toxic people go from my life, and grateful for the understanding that they have to walk their own paths, and it doesn't make them bad, just different.

Love and light.

June 28, 2013 Linear thinking

Today my thoughts are wandering around linear thinking, but not for the reason you may think.  The fact is, I have never been a linear thinker and my mind quails at the mere thought of putting one idea in front of another, in a neat, little row!

I suspect this is true of most who embrace their ADHD and allow it to come out to play whenever it wants to, provided it agrees to coexist with those nasty things called "jobs" and "responsibilities".

To begin with, "linear thinking" is defined as follows:
 a process of thought following known cycles or step-by-step progression where a response to a step must be elicited before another step is taken

I have enough trouble putting one foot  in front of the other in a step-by-step progression, much less can I ever hope to wrangle my thoughts into such a confining and uncomfortable space!  To be honest, I'd rather attempt to herd cats!

I used to think I was alone in this seemingly unnatural little world of random thoughts leading to even more random connections, but as more and more of my friends tend to be at least as ADHD as I am, I'm becoming aware that this is where the magic happens!  

It was brought home to me even more clearly this week as I read tributes to one of the great authors of our time.  I found myself quite excited at the explanation of how he made the transition from fluffy clouds outside the window of a plane to creepy gremlins riding on the wing!   I can so easily relate to that seemingly incongruous progression!

As I see it, linear thinkers are the ones who are more likely to follow the rules.  Their minds don't jump ahead when the instructions say "put tab A into slot B", but proceed, systematically, until all of the steps have been followed, never dreaming that there might be a quicker, easier way to achieve the same result, or reach an even better conclusion.  Don't get me wrong.  There is definitely a time and a place for people like this.  They keep all of the things which function best in accordance with a set schedule humming along so those of us who are linear challenged can go our merry way, with planes arriving on time, electricity working when we flip a switch and communication devices keeping us connected when we need it!

I often joke about my tendency to be in the middle of a conversation, then suddenly change topics, go off on another tangent and...ooo, shiny!

The truth is, there are a  quarter of a billion thoughts zipping through my mind at any given time  (while talking to a co-worker about the importance of each team member's contribution, the song "Every Sperm is sacred" from Monty Python's "Meaning of Life" popped into my head.).  As a result, they can easily form unlikely connections with absolutely no effort on my part!   And let's not even try to fit "control" into this discussion because the fact is, there ain't no such thing!

Thus, a car making an erratic lane change becomes a 1000 word discussion about commitment and risk taking.  A fly buzzing in my window screen becomes helicopters flying over my house enroute to a search and rescue mission in the nearby hills for a missing child, and a cat purring on my bed becomes the entrance to a fantasy world which beckons sweetly, only to hide a sinister underbelly, waiting to ambush the unsuspecting traveler, lulled by the sight of cute, fluffy, neon colored creatures gambolling through a field of  flowers in colors never seen in nature.

It might seem, with all of the lists I've been making lately, that it is easy to corral those errant thoughts, but if you look closely at my lists, they are rarely in any particular order, and only loosely related at best.  Their purpose, in most cases, is to acknowledge those pools of unrelated ideas and give them the go-ahead to interact anyway.

To be honest, the surest way to both stifle me and cause mass havoc is to put me in a position where I have to do the same tasks in the same way day in and day out.  Not only will my poor, overactive imagination be screaming in frustration, but it will make itself known in the most inappropriate manner and time possible, just because it can.   

This is not to say that I can't read and follow directions, and, even do on occasion.  But if I could have someone around who just took care of anything requiring systematic behavior I'd be a lot happier and a lot more productive!  That "Bob the fix it man" I've been seeking would, ideally, have those qualities!  Of course, I could never live with someone like that!  They'd drive me crazy with their precision and, what to me, are tedious processes.  But if he could just come in once a week or so and take care of things, I'd be really grateful!

(At the moment, I'm trying to figure out how to get a toilet and vanity installed, a storage shed assembled (which has yet to be purchased) and the contents of my Pod moved into said shed.  My own thought processes have not quite mastered the logistics of any of this!)  

There really is a time and a place for linear thinking.  It's just that that time is not now and the place is not anywhere in my vicinity.  It's too much like getting stuck behind someone who wants to go 45 when the speed limit is 70!  I want to rain curses down upon their poor, unsuspecting head, stomp my feet in frustration, and make my car sprout wings like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (and maybe pound on their head with Maxwell's Silver Hammer in the bargain!)

In all fairness, I probably drive the linear thinkers equally bonkers while I'm jetting ahead to the result while they're still trying to make sense of steps 1-4.  We do have to coexist, though, and it's not always possible to put us on completely separate tasks!  (I am noticing how very many times I backspace over "its" to make it "it's" and vice versa lately!  The rules of grammar have not yet caught up with my average typing speed!)

If there is anyone out there who has figured out how to put the two  mindsets together successfully and without bloodshed, I am anxious to learn the methodology which yields a successful outcome.  But until then, I shall bite my tongue when necessary, and go behind closed doors for a primal scream session when my frustration levels reach critical mass.

 My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my non-linear brain.
2. I am grateful for what is becoming my Friday night "date" (without benefit of a goodnight kiss, cuz we are strictly platonic. <grin>)
3. I am grateful for recent successes which are harbingers of more to come.
4. I am grateful for the bucketloads of inspiration I'm enjoying.
5. I am grateful for a day to sleep in, if only for a little while!

Love and light.



Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013 Gaining inspiration

Driving to work today, I watched as a blue van straddled the lane line, not quite sure where he wanted to be, and as I watched, it hit me!  Here is tonight's blog topic!


Wow!  I typed that statement early in the day and it seems it drew tons of inspiration as the day progressed.

My original intention was to talk about the many things we commit (or don't) to.  Whether it's a lane on the freeway, a healthy breakfast instead of a donut, or a promise to a loved one.  The list is infinite.  What is also infinite is the number of ways people will avoid committing.

But as I said, the Universe had its own ideas.

As I spoke with people today, some were showing gratitude for commitments they'd made which were showing results.  My friend Helen was very pleased that she was losing weight and had made a commitment to herself to reach small goals along the way instead of trying to look at the whole task ahead of her.  She was feeling very successful because she had so many milestones along the way that it took only a little effort to reach the next one.

Another friend was complaining that she couldn't lose weight (yes, there seemed to be a theme today.  Maybe it's because of summer?) and I suggested to her that she pick one habit to form and work on it for a month.  Once it was up and running and no longer needed regular maintenance, she could pick another habit and repeat the process.  I'm hoping she'll be as successful as Helen is!

Of course, work provides numerous opportunities to both form habits and make commitments!  As I work for a small company, we are all forever taking on new responsibilities because there are only so many of us to absorb what needs to get done, and that list is constantly changing!

As I watched the van vascillate over which lane he wanted to occupy, I gave some thought to the commitments I've made lately.

(here comes another of my lists)
1. I committed to blogging daily.
2. I committed to resuming work on my book.
3. I committed to eating healthier
4. I committed to making my breakfasts and lunches in advance to I could just grab and go in the mornings.
5. I committed to going back to the gym.
6. I committed to falling in like with my job. (and I have to say, this one has worked out much better than I could ever have dreamed!)
7. I've committed to keeping my house decluttered.
8. I've committed to being more diligent about keeping the sandboxes cleaned out.
9. I've committed to holding positive thoughts and vibrations.
10. I've committed to pursuing my passion.

I also have things I want to commit to in the future.
1. Finishing my kitchen.
2. Getting the vanity and toilet installed in my bathroom and fixing the bathtub/shower.
3. Getting a new architect and reviewing the plans for my remodel to see how they can be simplified and improved.
4. Getting rid of the pod in my front yard.
5. Learning how to install or fix some of the things myself.
6. Writing more and analyzing less.
7. Increasing the amount of time I spend at the gym.
8. Working on my yard.
9. Adding more philanthropic activities to my life.
10. Publishing and promoting the first of many books.

I look at the first list and congratulate myself on making so many commitments which are taking me further along my path.  I look at the second and see how many other things I have yet to pursue, but which wouldn't even be possible without the commitments I've already made.

It's true that the longest journey begins with a single step, but it is just as true that the largest task begins with a single commitment.

I've discovered that the key is to start with something fairly simple with a high probability of success.  Each success achieved makes the next task less daunting, even if it is really of much greater difficulty because, now, proof of prior success makes us braver, stronger and more confident.

Getting a few of the larger miracles under our belts allows us to begin traveling the path which will lead us to where we aren't afraid to embark on much of anything because we continually remind ourselves that we can succeed.  The only variable is our own willingness to put forth the effort.

Let me clarify something though.  Success doesn't mean that you get it right the first time, every time.  It means that if something doesn't quite work out as planned, you take a step back, determine whether you still want to achieve the original plan or if it's time to make a new plan and keep pushing ahead, but towards the new plan which emerged as you learned from mistakes made in trying to achieve the old plan.  The plan may change dozens of times before you reach the one that works out, but each lesson, each setback, each re-evaluation is a success of its own because you take what you've learned thus far, put it together in a different way, and begin another lesson.  Sometimes, the success is simply the lesson learned, and by keeping our eye on the baby steps along the way, you arrive at the successful completion of the plan sooner than you expected, although that completion may look nothing like the original plan at all!

Oftentimes, it is really not the goal that is important, but the successes you found on the road to that goal!  In fact, what I've found lately is that sometimes we don't even realize that the end result is not the true goal.  What we're really working to achieve is community, connectedness, and our place in the overall scheme of things.

I think the biggest thing I've achieved over the last few months has been a greater understanding of the people around me; a greater respect for those who used to frustrate me, and, best of all, more inner peace!

The Universe works in its own way.  We set intentions and raise our vibrations so that we exude abundance rather than lack, but at the end of the day, the Universe gives us what we need as opposed to what we believe we want!

In my own, humble experiences, I can't honestly say that this is a bad thing.  Every delay, every redirection, every change in plans has always worked out better than what I originally envisioned.  Every time I find myself setting something aside for awhile, I find, down the road a ways, that I needed to set it aside until I had gained other experiences which would help me work with the tool better.

I think what it boils down to is that there are really no mistakes, but simply opportunities to prepare ourselves to use our tools, our talents and our opportunities more effectively.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that the Universe doesn't always give me what I think I want.
2. I am grateful for small successes.
3. I am grateful that I'm learning to make commitments, little by little, to what is truly important for me.
4. I am grateful for hot, sweaty, high energy dance nights.
5. I am grateful for a new habit that is forming which gives me more and better sleep at night.

Love and light.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26, 2013 Implications of the Chariot

Two cards from the Tarot exemplify the cycle into which I am entering.  At first, I was focused only on one, the Chariot, but as I thumbed through my deck looking for the card so I could scan it, I ran across another which also fit, so I'll give you both tonight.

First, as promised, I give you The Chariot, card number 7 in the Major Arcana.  This card is a harbinger of movement, sometimes involving travel, but typically the embodiment of forward momentum.  The card also exemplifies victory as a result of unwavering focus and a will to succeed.  This focus is especially important when the Chariot is paired with the second card which drew my attention this evening, the Eight of Wands. 

The eight of wands adds an extra dimension to the message of the Chariot.  It brings rapid change, events occurring hot on the heels of each other with a need for quick, decisive action if you are to keep up with the gattling gun pace of new options to exercise and choices to make. 

What you have is a high level of success followed by more choices, assessments which must be made accurately, but on the fly, as you hurtle towards yet another series of decisions and actions.  This is not a pairing for the faint of heart, nor for the timid. 

It is, as I discovered today, a time to learn and implement your right to pick and choose which decisions and tasks you can and will undertake and yes, when to say "no". 

Events move so quickly, and gain such momentum, that allowing yourself to be backed into a corner during this cycle is to find yourself buried, and losing the good ground you had, heretofore, gained.  It is, therefore, also a time to release things which no longer serve you and to strengthen those qualities which allow you to accomplish more with less effort. 

Thus, efficiency, strength of will, focus on success, are all factors which are called upon in large quantities right now.  And though I speak of this in general terms, this is my cycle at the moment. 

For all I know, it could be part of the overall change I've been sensing for some time now, and which has been corroborated by quite a few others.  It will be interesting to see what kind of feedback I see when this posts is published.  I have to wonder if others are experiencing this crazy energy which drives them forward, striving for success, dodging those things which slow forward progress and, to borrow an oft-used phrase, keeping their eye on the prize.

This kind of cycle is not one which works for everyone.  Certainly, those who enjoy a quiet, simple life will not be eager to embark upon one with changes around every corner, the need to adapt, respond, release and move on to the next challenge.  But for those of us who thrive on change, even a little adventure, this is an exciting, enervating period to be living.

I know this will mean, for awhile, longer hours and the need to really stick to the habits I've set for healthy eating and regular exercise.  (I didn't exactly do the best job of it tonight, missing another opportunity to go to the gym, and making a dinner of 3 tacos!)  But keeping things organized to allow this to happen is part of the process.

Right now, there is an adjustment period where I need to shuffle all of my habits around and come up with a plan which keeps everything moving along the way it's supposed to.  I expect to stumble now and then, but will ultimately reach a plan which continues to provide those necessities:  Sleep, healthy food, exercise and recreation, without which I would not be able to manage the pace which will be required of me for at least the next few weeks.

Being healthy in body, mind and spirit is what allows us to operate at peak performance and that is exactly where I want and need to be right now.  Oh, and don't expect me to give up my writing as things heat up.  That's a huge part of keeping my mind and spirit healthy!   

One of the interesting side effects of a crazy, busy cycle, at least for me, is that my energy level increases and as a result, I get some of those projects done that I've been putting off.  You know the ones, cleaning and organizing, decluttering, scrubbing floors, maybe even getting out in the yard to yank a few weeds!  I seek all manner of tasks to burn off some of the nervous energy I'm accumulating as my mind picks up its pace!  Who knows?  I might even tackle the toilet and vanity task by myself.  What's the worst that could happen?  I'd have to call in a professional to finish the job! 

I'll leave you tonight with a relatively short post, but don't get used to it! :)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a wild ride coming my way.
2. I am grateful for an opportunity to practice saying no at work!
3. I am grateful for healthy habits which won't allow me to stray too far.
4. I am grateful for my friends who will help me stay focused by giving me some down time.
5. I am grateful for my cats who are getting extra cuddly lately (and made me oversleep this morning!)

Love and light

June 25, 2013 Finding my purpose

I read a blog post today by Anita Davis Sullivan which talked about carrying on the legacy of a loved one who has passed on.  She cited both the loss of her brother from suicide (though I noticed that the actual cause was left unspoken) and a man's loss of his daughter to leukemia.  Both of them found ways to carry on the legacy of the person they loved.

Reading this blog, I realized that I had missed something very important.  Certainly, the path I'm following with regard to healing, forgiving and understanding why my parents chose to leave as they did is important, but I totally missed the opportunity to continue their legacy.

My mom was always active in the community, working charity events for cancer research and heaven only knows what else.  Formally, dad was a Big Brother at one time, but informally, he was a man who was a good friend, and who the kids were comfortable hanging around.  He gave everyone a chance, even those who others might think didn't deserve one.  So the question I ask myself now is "aren't these qualities which should be carried forward?" 

Most of us don't come from families who leave blazing marks upon the world.  We're just ordinary people living what looks on the surface like ordinary lives.  But if you dig a little deeper, you'll likely find something extraordinary which was performed quietly and without fanfare.  If you asked a member of that family about it, they'd chalk it up to being the right thing to do.

It is just those seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things because it's the right thing to do which makes the world an extraordinary place.  People who look out for others or champion a cause with no thought of thanks or recognition.  Whether it's the teacher or coach who spends that little bit of extra time with a child who is struggling, a parent who starts a program for local youth, someone who gives blood regularly...they do it for the sake of helping, and for no other reason.

John Ritter died the same day as my dad.  His passing was written up in newspapers and magazines all over the world, counting and recounting all of his accomplishments.  My dad touched a lot of lives, but there was no such recounting.  But the truth is, he wouldn't have wanted or needed such public praise.  He didn't seek accolades for reaching out to someone in need.  In fact, it would probably have embarrassed him to have someone take notice!

As individuals, we make our contributions in our own way, some in the public eye, and some as far away from it as they can get.  But does it really matter how or why we do what we do?  And more important, are those who make their contributions outside of the limelight any less worthy of having someone continue their cause?  We may have to dig a little deeper to determine what was important to them in their lives in order to carry it forward, but regardless of what we find fulfilled them, it is, surely, our responsibility to see that what was important to them is kept alive and supported.  

Now, it might appear that I mean that we should locate and support the exact same causes which were important to our deceased loved ones, but that is not the case at all.  What I'm driving at is that those who have gone before us set a standard for caring and for social consciousness.  That is the legacy which we need to continue. 

Mom's cause might have been cancer research while mine might involve animals or children.  They're all worthy and valuable causes which always need volunteers, donations, supporters.  It's just about spending a little less of our time and hard earned money on ourselves and sharing a little with causes we feel strongly about.  I also believe that turning our positive energy towards something we find important allows it to gather strength and the attention it needs to gain support from others who might not otherwise find them.

Heaven knows, none of us can save the world single handedly, no matter how much money or time we might have.  But every dollar and every minute of our time and every moment's thought we offer to one of the many worthy causes WILL save the world, will make it a better place and will cure diseases, end abuse and prevent euthanasia.   Every time we help spread the word of an organization in need, we help to make the world a better place!

We, the bloggers, have our own purposes, our own obligations to fulfill, and our own forums upon which to help instigate those positive changes! 

I recently offered my writing skills to an organization I feel strongly about.  Although they were interested in accepting my offer, I'm just too far away, geographically, and they're way too busy trying to keep up with their current volume to get me enough information to really help them right now.  But what I can do is mention them here as often as possible and share whatever they're doing to raise funds and awareness.

The group is Cat House on the Kings.  They rescue cats and a few dogs, provide fostering, medical care a 12 acre facility and a partnership with Petco in Fresno to rescue, trap, neuter and return (TNR), hold adoptions and just let many cats live out their lives in a safe environment.  In some cases, they go to extraordinary lengths to save a cat.  They recently paid for hernia surgery for a 2 week old kitten who is now doing extremely well!  They spend more on just medical care than most facilities spend on just maintenance because they feel so strongly about helping anyone they can.  When I toured their facility in May, I learned that they have a special section just for senior cats and those who have some kind of medical issue.  They have another one just for FLV+ cats so they can live out their lives instead of being euthanized for fear of infecting other cats.

I'm not currently in a position to be one of their major supporters, financially, but I am in a position to help spread the word about what they do.  They offer many opportunities to contribute including a Wish List on Amazon, $5 Fridays and sponsorship of one of their cats for $15 a month.  NatGeo Wild aired a show called "The Woman with 700 Cats" but I'm sure they've gone way over that number now.  At last count, they'd taken in 586 kittens this year alone!  Despite the fact that they hold adoptions 7 days a week, that is still a lot of kittens to find homes for, and that is in addition to the cats and kittens who were already residents!  They also rescued a bunch of ferals from Catalina Island who now live in their own area and will likely live out their days at CHOTK because they aren't really people friendly, but prefer hanging out in the trees they learned to love after coming from a treeless environment.    I just can't say enough about the wonderful job they're doing, and the heroic efforts they go to to save cats and kittens.  Here is their latest fundraising effort if anyone is interested:

We have taken in 586 kittens this year, because saving lives is at the top of our priority list. But every kitten costs us money. Money for vet care. Money for food. Money for litter. Money for vaccines. THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN! Our bank account is dwindling and what we really need right now are cash donations from our kitten-loving fans, friends and supporters. Just as every kitten counts (and deserves a life in a loving home), every dollar counts ~ and adds up. Our goal for our EVERY KITTEN COUNTS AND EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS fundraiser is simple ~ we're looking to raise $15,000 to help cover some of our costs. (That's about $25 per kitten, if you're doing the math!) CAN YOU HELP? CAN YOU DONATE? CAN YOU SHARE? To Donate: Click on the DONATE NOW button on the top right of our Facebook page, or (if you're on your phone) visit www.Cathouseonthekings.com to donate! =^..^=

If you're looking for someone to help, and you're an animal lover, this is one to consider adding to your list!  Thank you so much!!!

This is certainly not my only purpose, but it is surely one of them!  I am very proud to be part of this elite group which does its part to make the world a better, safer, cleaner, happier place!

On another topic, I tried to sign up for Google Adsense today.  I received a very polite email back which stated that I had not been approved because my website didn't have enough content!  Clearly, their little webcrawler was not sufficiently programmed to see the amount of content I produce on a daily basis!  What are they looking for?  A novel a day???   As they had a place to indicate that you're an individual as opposed to a business, you'd think they had different standards, but I guess not, so Dear Mr. Google, it's your loss!

On the day I publish my first book, I will look back and say that my first rejection came from the Internet giant, Google!   Maybe I can get one from Microsoft, Yahoo or Bing to add to my collection?  I believe I'll print their email out and let it be the first deposit in my rejection file.  Let the party begin!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have created a forum where I can do my part to help make the world a little better.
2. I am grateful for reminders that I truly have found a few of my purposes, and that I definitely have more than one!
3. I am grateful for organizations which create havens for children, women and animals or support health related issues and allow the rest of us to contribute, if just in a small way.
4. I am grateful to other bloggers for opening my eyes to things I might not see if left to my own devices.
5. I am grateful to Google for giving me my first rejection which was more amusing than painful.

Love and light

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013 My brain guides my hands, but my cats guide my sleep

Last night, after typing well over my 1500 word goal, I lay down with my mind still spinning.  I hadn't been there more than a couple of minutes, tossing and turning, trying to find the perfect spot, mind still whirling and trying to decide whether to put myself to sleep with one of my stories when Dylan jumped up on the bed, walked onto my pillow, gave my face a little wash, then curled around my head and started to purr loudly.  For some, this might be a sleep deterrent, but for me (and he knows it well), it is one of the few things that will put me to sleep without fuss, no matter how wild my brain might be cavorting.

It is uncanny how attuned my cats are to my needs and moods.  Just as Toby knew yesterday that I had reached the hour limit I'd set myself to meditate, Dylan knew just when his services were required to stop the hamsters' wild dance and allow sleep to come to me.

I've suffered from migraines nearly all my life.  My first experience was at around 10 when I scared the crap out of my mom who thought I was going blind.  Over the years, I've learned a lot about preventing them, minimizing them, and enduring them when nothing works.  Ultimately, I went to a headache clinic where I learned how to relax every muscle in my body, and especially my face, head and neck, to keep the worst from hitting me, literally, between the eyes.

As time went on, I discovered, completely on my own, that drinking one cup of coffee every morning, staying hydrated and remembering to eat protein regularly throughout the day all helped minimize the number of occurrences, and having a chiropractor adjust my neck every month or so seems to be the final deterrent.

What I didn't find, at least until recently, was a doctor who was willing to admit that any or all of these practices helped prevent or at least minimize my migraines.  Most would give me some folderol about not really understanding headaches, or they would try to attribute them to stress or female stuff.  Honestly, the things I've learned about migraines just by trial and error could probably fill another blog!!!

Imagine my surprise when discussing an upcoming procedure with a new doctor, and when I expressed my concerns about bringing on a migraine, she explained to me that lack of protein and dehydration are the biggest culprits, after which she gave me pointers on preventing the migraines while limited to a diet of clear fluids (thankfully, coffee is considered a clear fluid!).  She told me that gelatin is an excellent source of protein, so I should lay in a stock of jello for my clear fluid day and eat it at regular intervals along with the juices, water and broths I'm also allowed.  But above all, I need to stay hydrated!

What a refreshing surprise to find a doctor who doesn't just want to pump me full of pain meds, but will actually look at the root cause!  It gives me hope that more doctors are leaning towards treating the body holistically instead of chemically.  As mine continues to reject antibiotics, it is clear that chemicals are neither desired nor tolerated in my own, personal little temple.  

I don't know about other people, but when I'm in pain, my stomach likes to get into the act and do it's best Mount Vesuvius impression, so plying it with foreign substances is more likely to trigger an eruption than alleviate the pain!  So I'm very grateful to have been referred to a doctor who not only does her homework but has some sense!!!

Which leads me to wonder if we can actually control our stress levels by just eating right, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.  What is stress, really, but our body reacting to being abused, right?  So if we take the time to provide proper fuel, shut down for a reasonable amount of time every day, get some recreation and some socializing in, won't that keep stress from having the time to build up in our systems?  I'll bet there is a direct correlation between stress levels and lack of quality in life. 

The way I see it, the ingredients for a low stress life include:
      1. Sufficient sleep
      2. Drinking enough water
      3. Eating predominantly healthy foods.
      4. Minimizing the ingestion of chemicals.
      5. Regular exercise
      6. Social interaction
      7. Lots of laughter
      8. Gratitude

I think this combination can offset the most demanding job, the trials and tribulations of financial challenges, kids, parents, spouses and other challenging individuals and even rush hour traffic! 

Sure, it's easy to make excuses for short changing ourselves of any and all of these things, but what do you really gain by doing so?  How much  time and effort does it really take to incorporate a little of each into your daily life?  In the process, you might even find, as I did, that a little bit of planning at the front end makes things simpler overall.  Or, like me, you might actually find that the simple task or preparing those meals ahead of time is soothing in and of itself and serves to help you unwind from the day so the sleep you do get is more restful. 

I am living proof that the years I hid behind my computer after work every night were not my happiest, most stress free times.  The times when I pre-plan so that I fix breakfasts and lunches every other day, make regular trips to the gym, get together with friends to dance, visit, see a play, share a meal or whatever else we decide to do, consume gallons of water, get good, restful sleep, laugh often and appreciate every little thing are the times when my joy overflows and, no matter what happens, my life is good. 

I still have the plumbing problems and the bills to pay and the occasional obnoxious neighbor, but you know what?  They don't really matter.  I deal with them as I need to and let them go!  They don't become a black cloud over my entire life, but simply one of those things that needs to be dealt with, then let go.  Frankly, I don't have time to dwell on little annoyances or aggravations.  They simply don't fit into the space I've created for myself!  (which could be another reason for decreased stress levels!  There just isn't any room for stress in a full, happy life!)

I really encourage people to focus on those things which will bring health and well-being to themselves.  It only makes the path we travel in our current human form more pleasurable.  I know I'm not a fan of sitting around, buried in worries and aches and pains.  I'd rather be out playing, laughing with my friends, or writing long, humor-filled posts!

So, if you're looking for me, just follow the laughter!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I've learned to manage the amount of stress that is allowed in my life.
2. I am grateful for friends and belly laughs.
3. I am grateful for continued enlightenment about stress and migraines.
4. I am grateful for vast improvements in my perspective.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of love, laughter, prosperity and health.

Love and light.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23, 2013 The best of intentions sometimes go awry. And awry can be a good thing!

I started out the day with the very best of intentions.  I was going to go to the gym and do legs, but a cranky groin muscle made me rethink that plan.

I was going to fix the bathtub which has had a sticky lever in the faucet for ages.  What my daughter suggested didn't work.

I was going to remove everything from my freezer because it had decided to stop freezing.  I was able to move everything into the top of the refrigerator the kids are storing temporarily in my garage, and get rid of things which were old anyway (aside from the lobster tail I'd failed to pull out of there the other day when the thing stopped freezing altogether, but I saved most of the newer stuff!).    And I ordered a new freezer which will be delivered next Sunday (Assuming Home Depot isn't challenged again like it was with my vanity!) and was lucky enough to find it on sale at over $100 off!!.  Add in my 3% from Ebates and I saved nearly $120!  Very cool!!!

Now here I sit, hot, sweaty and frustrated, wishing I knew a good handy man who could fix my tub, install my new vanity and toilet and help me fix a myriad of other small things around the house!  Where is that woman with her fix-it man, Bob when a girl needs him!!!

But you can't keep a good woman down!  I did a little relaxing, a meditation (which was rudely interrupted by my big boy, Toby, standing on my chest.  At first, I wondered why he didn't just curl up on my lap like normal, until I realized that I'd said I wanted to meditate for an hour and it had, indeed, been an hour.  I'm starting to believe cats can keep track of time!

Now, here it is, 11:11 and my lunches and breakfasts are packed up in the refrigerator, the load of towels and rugs from the great bathroom flood are finally in the dryer after being washed about 3 times, the kitchen is put to rights and the dishwasher is humming a happy tune.

I'm not sure if it was my happy energy or the full moon, or what, but when I finished straightening the kitchen, I found all of the cats (except Toby because, what would a meal prep be without at least one trip over that giant boy?) waiting for me in the living room!  Usually, one or two might be there, with the rest scattered around the house, so it was quite odd to find them all gathered in the same room, including Patches, who prefers solitude!

I find that I go through cycles where I watch a lot of TV at night, then suddenly, I'm watching none.  Usually, when I'm in my "none" stage, it's because I can't really sit still and focus on something while doing nothing.  I need to be writing or reading or researching, or even playing some stupid game, but not just being an observer. 

I know that I am impacted by the phases of the moon, but haven't really kept a log or anything to see if these mood swings coincide with any particular cycle.  I'd like to stay in the current one for awhile, though because I find I'm far more productive and motivated!  (at least for everything except my book!).

A friend did offer up a suggestion that I allow myself one weekend day a month in which to hole up and write.  As soon as I have a weekend when there isn't a ton of stuff going on, I'm going to give that a try.  (unless, of course, I'm suddenly inspired and just find myself sitting down at the computer, oblivious to everything else that's going on around me, and all of the things in my house that need fixing!)

In the meantime, I will continue to do my best to crank out 1500 words or more (yes, I want to get past the lazy days when I only do 700 or so) and go on to the next UBC which starts July 1.  I'm also working on posting a little earlier so I am NOT the last poster of the day!  But I'm loving communicating with people from all over the world since I joined the challenge in April.  In some cases, I'm really learning about other places because the bloggers share photographs and stories about the places they live.  
 I've also found more people who inspire me with their positive attitudes, great advice and wonderful, joyful personas.  We blog for a variety of reasons, and that variety can be huge.  Some are selling a product or service.  Some of us are writers, either aspiring, published, or just scribbling.  But we blog because we need to write...and write...and write.  Some are mothers sharing their parenting experiences.  Others are artists or photographers.  But whatever the reason they blog, each one shares a part of themselves when they put fingers to keyboard.  I am honored to be allowed into their worlds just by clicking a link.  And I am even more honored that some of them come into my world, leave comments, and sometimes even share the link to my blog. 

There are truly things we do because we must, because it is a part of our being and to refrain from doing those things would make us feel half alive.  For my daughter, I think it's baking, but could just be the creative process in general as she sews, makes jewelry and takes some pretty spectacular photographs as well.  For a friend from my Band Booster days, it is photography.  She took tons of pictures of the kids, including one of my favorites of Heather which hangs on my bulletin board.  Now she takes pictures of her kids and grandkids, nature, and whatever else she spies through the eye of her camera. 

Another friend's daughter creates massive paintings with brilliant color.  That isn't her day job, but it is certainly her passion. 

I think that's really the word: by doing that one thing which gives us the most pleasure, we fulfill our passion.  We don't have to make money at it (though the lucky ones do manage to support themselves with it), but giving it up is like giving up breathing.  Most of us, too, have more than one thing we are passionate about, probably because expressing our passion leads to more passionate expression. 

I believe that expressing our passion in multiple areas in our lives allows that passion to expand and grow, overflowing into that which we must do. 

I've seen changes in my writing over the last three or four years.  Some of it is the result of experiences and growth, but some of it is simply because I'm finally allowing myself to express everything with as much passion as I feel.  I'm writing tens of thousands of words a month (and slowly getting to the point where I write that much in a week!)   Where it took me about four years to write just shy of 350,000 words, I'm on track to do that in less than a year.  Why?  Because it is no longer a sometimes thing.  It is something which makes me miss meals, give up some of my sleep, forgo the one-eyed monster and live another day with a dirty kitchen floor.  Allowing my mind free reign is becoming as natural as breathing. 

I use times when I'm performing mindless tasks: be it cooking, cleaning, waiting for an appointment or anything else which doesn't engage my full brain, to let myself go anywhere, be anyone I want to be.  I dream up new blog topics during those times.  Some of them actually make it to the page, while others are simply segues into something else. 

My dreams become inspiration.  Conversations with friends lead to new ideas.  Something I read will send me off on a wild tangent, reminiscent of Narnia.  It doesn't matter where or who or what or why.  The inspiration guides my fingers and the words pour out.  Granted, they aren't always in a discernible kind of order, nor is maintaining a topic a priority right now.  But think of all the raw material I'm generating for future books!  Like Anne McCaffery or Mercedes Lackey, I could begin a series that could go on for ten or twelve books, or I could just write a bunch of singles.  Today could be a self-help book, tomorrow a children's book and the next day, a steamy romance.  (ok, so I don't have enough personal experience for a steamy romance, but maybe my vivid imagination can fill in some of the blanks!). 

I dream in living color, so that can certainly transfer to the printed page.  (I'm still trying to make sense of the dream about a friend who was dancing with me and couldn't figure out why he was so itchy until he realized that he was wearing a fanny pack filled with termites that he'd picked up on a hike.  There are way too many anomolies here to go into!)

It may even be that my dreams have become more vivid, more outrageous since I've allowed my writing to become part of my daily routine.  It's as if a door was cracked open and Munchkin body slammed it open the rest of the way, allowing every lion and tiger and bear free access to the world on the other side. 

It occurred to me just now that I might want to do some free writing, where I just type whatever comes to mind.  Then I realized that I do it all the time these days.  Admittedly, there is a certain amount of editing, which, frankly, causes me to pause in my writing while I decide what to type, what to leave out, and when to forcibly change the direction entirely.  This is what I often refer to as my ADHD writing.  Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't.  Perhaps it is just all of the people and creatures and story lines from my overactive imagination pouring into my conscious world and wreaking havoc with gay abandon. 

Perhaps, now would be the time to change the name of my blog to "Writer Gone Amok".

I will ponder that as I lay my head upon whichever pillow has not already been claimed by a feline.  . 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I have learned to embrace my passions and allow them free reign.
2. I am grateful for all of the amazing people I've been meeting, who have allowed me a glimpse of their worlds.
3. I am grateful for encouragement which is coming from so many directions.
4. I am grateful for the ease with which so many words are flowing from my fingers these days,
5. I am grateful for a life which will leave more and more time to write, to dance, to exercise, to walk in nature and to be the me I've always wanted to be!

Love and light

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22, 2013 Spinning mind. spinning 'round, looking for something quite profound.

Today was such a full day, I don't even know where to begin!

Despite getting the beginnings of a migraine while on my way to my monthly massage appointment, I really could not have asked for a better day!

Some dancing friends opened up their home to a small group before our usual Saturday night dancing for drinks, appetizers and conversation.  This meant that about 11 of us arrived at the same time, and already in high spirits (or is that, a little high from spirits?).  Either way, the energy was incredible and those pesky feelings I had awhile back of being detached from everyone else were eradicated completely!

It does mean that I've added quite a few things to my "to do" list so I can host one of these gatherings.  At the moment, I just can't see inviting everyone into my home in its current state of half, demolished, pre-delayed remodel state.  I need to make a couple of phone calls and at least get my kitchen put together the way it was intended!  From there, I can slowly deal with the rest.

Just one more thing to manage as I work on getting back to my book, but somehow, I feel like things are going to work out better than I can possibly see while mired in half demolished walls and torn up carpet.

I do think I may start adding a glass of wine to my dance routine though, as, instead of making my clumsy, it just relaxed me a bit and I had an even better time than usual! 

The trouble with overly full days is that my brain goes into overdrive and, as a result, nothing coherent seems to be retrievable.

I am getting some valuable input from my query last night, most of which advises that I just keep going as I am for now.

I did realize that with everything I do, I'm adding stepping stones to my path and, eventually, it will take me where I need to go.  At the moment, I feel like I'm coming to a curve in the road, so I can't really see what's ahead right now.  I need to lay a few more pavers before I get a hint of what's coming next!

With frustration over not achieving my purpose, or even getting clear direction, comes the realization that, in my case, I had to experience a whole bunch of life before I was ready to fulfill my purpose.  Even now, I might not be ready, but still have more experiences to, well, experience.  So this is me, plodding along, taking what comes and making the most of it, gaining new insights and expanding my horizons (boy, are they expanding lately!).

What's around that next curve may well rock my world right down to its foundation, but it is still going in the direction I need to go, and that's really what's important to me!

The Universe is getting lots of help with those headslaps, too.  A few friends are gleefully administering a few of their own, while the Universe has yet another belly laugh at my expense!  I'm so grateful I'm able to provide such regular amusement.  Too bad I never learned to juggle!

June 21, 2013 Universal headslaps for the Summer Solstice

After a lovely dinner with a good friend, we went back to her place to chat some more.  She brought out her Angel Cards and Fairy Cards in the course of our meandering conversation.

Just for fun, I pulled 3 cards from the Angel deck, or should I say, I pulled 2, and one literally jumped out of the deck and attacked me!  The first card dealt with clairvoyance and not being afraid to employ it, whether the output I receive is dream visions or waking visions.

The second card, the one which insisted on being a part of my reading was simply called "Book".  This card deals with all things books:  reading, writing, selling, promoting.  The card clearly stated that I had found my true path. 

The final card had to do with the use of crystals to find clarity.

Clear enough, right?  I don't need a seeing eye dog to get this particular message which also stated, in no uncertain terms, that I should make time every day to pursue my purpose.

As if that wasn't enough, I was reading my daily horoscope (just for fun as, frankly, sometimes it comes sort of close, but most of the time, it's way off base!) and what do I see?

"Career options are changing, and you may find that you have strange or unusual new opportunities that allow you to express your creativity. Keep an open mind when a really wild idea comes to mind. You may be looking at a change in careers."

I'd have to be blind, deaf, dumb and stupid to miss the message the Universe is tossing my way.  In short, if I don't get off my lazy butt and finish that book, there WILL be consequences, and I will NOT like them!!!

So I'm sitting here thinking: 
"Tomorrow is an action packed and fun-filled day, which isn't even going to allow time for my gym visit.  That leaves Sunday when I was going to attempt to replace a vanity and fix the hot water pipe thingie, go to the gym, grocery shop and do chores.  Clearly, I'm going to have to give up something!  The way it looks right now, it's not looking so good for eating or sleeping!"

 Seriously, though, many things are pointing to the expansion of my creative side, these days, and it really does behoove me to start paying better attention, setting goals, seeking guidance wherever it is available, and just finishing what I've started! 

I'm seeing more and more synchronicities in my life these days, coming into contact with more people who make me stop and say "aha!" and frankly, getting many more, unexpected opportunities to hone my writing skills.  Sure, tackling the subject at hand has its painful moments, and there are times when I'm not sure just how candid I really want to be, but if I shift my focus to the people who could possibly benefit from that candor, it might open up the floodgates and allow the words to come pouring through.  Just a thought, though.

I once thought to set aside time every day to write, and when I did, a Blog was Born!  How much more effort will it really take before the Blog becomes a book and the book becomes several?  It all really does start with a single step! 

I keep visualizing the culmination of my efforts, as I embark on a book tour to promote my latest accomplishment.  I imagine how I'll be feeling, how I'll be looking, who will be with me, and so on....  The only thing missing is putting fingers to keyboard.  Yet, the last time I focused, I managed to pound out about 18,000 words in 3 days! 

I know what I really want is to be able to just get up when I feel like it, sit down at my computer, and not come up for air until I'm good and ready.  But since I do have certain responsibilities, I have to have a plan with which I can have those hours of writing time, albeit in conjunction with an already busy schedule, to just get lost in my story and create!  (as far as the cats are concerned, me at my computer every day doesn't sound like such a bad thing because I can always be counted on to give absent-minded skritches, fill food bowls and give them lots of attention during my breaks.)

What I lack, my friends, is discipline!  I do great if I set aside a few days to write.  I make sure I have sufficient groceries, lock myself in and just do what I planned.  But enter requirements for going to work, visits to the gym (which I need so let's not go there!) and of course, getting my dancing fix, my resolution falls apart.  I just don't seem to be able to set a habit for working on my book every day for a set amount of time! 

What especially frustrates me is that I've managed to set far more difficult goals, and have achieved them in stupendous fashion, setting wonderful, new habits with blythe abandon!  Yet, when it comes to setting a habit to fulfill my life's true purpose, I fall flat on my face! 

I've reached the conclusion that there is still some kind of block and until I find that block and remove it, I will continue to struggle with this weighty problem.

But not only will I be focusing on the causes, and remedies for that block or blocks, I will be actively entertaining suggestions from all quarters as to how to identify and eradicate this nasty, skanky, purpose sucking creature!

In a word, H E L P!!!!

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful to friends, both old and new, who will help me both to see what is standing in my way and to find a way to clear my path.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to expand my horizons and see things from different angles.
3. I am grateful for an expanding social life (despite the fact that it aids and abets the block to my writing!)
4. I am grateful for more opportunities for creativity.
5. I am grateful for turns in my path which may currently hide where I'm going, but will soon unfold as I make it around the next bend!

Love and light.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 20, 2013 Musings, ponderings and random acts of celebration.

I've always been rather envious of friends who just seem to get along with everyone.  I wish I had that gift.  Instead, I seem to be the one who manages to either irritate, or be irritated by someone at some point, which creates tension for other people.  I'm not sure what it is I'm doing or why I can't seem to stop it, but frankly, I'm quite tired of this part of my nature.

I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I am very passionate by nature, and tend to express myself in a very overt manner.  I think I also tend to take myself too seriously at times.  I'm sure my friends do too, but they seem to know when to do so and when to put on their "company faces" and just let things roll off.

It just may be that when my friends experience these irritations, they go away and talk it out with a friend who isn't part of the group dynamic, so they put things back in perspective before venturing into the pool again.  Whatever it is, I wish someone would explain to me what it is I'm doing wrong!

On a lighter note, as I've gotten into the habit of preparing my breakfasts and lunches every couple of days, I realize that there is a certain catharticness to chopping up fresh fruits and vegetables.  As I stand at the counter, following my routine every other day, chatting to the cats while I work, I feel the tensions of the day draining out of my body.  I'm not really sure if it's knowing that I'm doing one more good thing for my body, or if it is just the simplicity of the task of selecting an item, cutting it into the size pieces I want, and moving on to the next one.  Whatever it is, between the meal preparations, the tidying up of the kitchen, posting in my blog and the rest of my nightly routines, I have certainly found it easier to fall asleep and, even better, to stay asleep!

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  establishing new, healthy habits benefits us in ways we don't even realize!  I'm also learning not to get overly excited, in either direction, over the numbers on the scale.  At the moment, I'm back up a couple of pounds, but my clothes are fitting looser and I am really starting to see an improvement in the muscle tone in my upper body!  I'm learning to focus on the improvements and to remove my attention to what still needs to be "fixed".  If nothing else, focusing on the parts which are showing improvement brings me joy, not the least of which is the fact that I set myself goals to live a healthier lifestyle, and I've accomplished that!

I've realized that, by basing the success of your goals on the numbers on a scale, you're going to spend a lot of time being frustrated.    But by basing those goals on the fit of your clothes, your energy level, and, for those of us who are no longer spring chickens, by the reduction in aches and pains, the increase in strength to do the simple things, and, best of all, the desire to continue those healthy habits, to the point where you just don't feel right when you miss one!

I still have a lot to learn, in this Human Experience, but I'm learning to celebrate the successes, because as I celebrate the small successes, they begin to accumulate until I'm celebrating more large ones too!

My Goal this week is to celebrate those victories, those successes, with a childlike innocence.  To appreciate each and every small achievement and to share my spirit of celebration with everyone around me.  I'm giving myself permission to embark on a path of random acts of celebration, and challenge myself to find as many reasons as I can!

My first celebration is for coming up with a blog topic for tonight.  When I went into the kitchen to make my lunch, my brain was a great, big blank, but by the time I finished making my wonderful, tasty salad and removed my contacts,  I had found plenty to say, once again, and as an added bonus, a new challenge to set for myself!  If that isn't an excuse for a party, I don't know what is!!!  And all my rowdy friends will be there on Saturday night to help me!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for excuses for random acts of celebration.
2. I am grateful for friends who set me good examples.
3. I am grateful for fantastic nights of dancing and friendship.
4. I am grateful for inspiration, from wherever it may come.
5. I am grateful for busy, social weekends (and a massage is an added bonus!)

Love and light.